Blend 2014

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It’s still a little hard for me to believe- but this year’s Blend Retreat has come and gone. This was the third annual gathering for Blend (and also the third year that I’ve been in attendance). I helped out in some capacity during planning for the first two years and stepped into a co-organizer role this year. I’ve been friends with the other two organizers Lindsay and Janetha for a few years now, but have gotten a lot closer to both of them over the last year thanks to countless emails, phone calls and texts.

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I really had no idea just how much planning went into organizing this type of event! Lindsay wrote a great post about the “what, why and how” Blend all came together- which you can check out for details.

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WIAW 83: Eggs & Indulgence

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Last Saturday was one of those crazy days where I found myself running all over the place from the time that I woke up until I went to bed. Regardless of the day being a bit hectic and busy- it was super fun and I got to spend some time with a bunch of great friends! Usually Greg and I designate Saturday as the one morning of the week for “sleeping in,” but we got up relatively early to meet with our realtor to look at houses. (I know that it seems like we just moved- but we rented our house out here for a year to figure out where we wanted to buy- and that lease is up May 1st!)

I whipped up a quick breakfast of toast, scrambled eggs (with ham and hot sauce!) and kumquats. I also had a small smoothie made with JAVAPRO (instead of coffee).

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We were out looking at pretty much every single house available in the towns we want to live in- which isn’t a whole lot. The inventory is super low out here (which is great for the sellers- not as great if you’re a buyer!). We got back home with about 45 minutes to spare before I had to head back out to attend the Fairlife blogger event, and I made myself a salad with a hard-boiled egg, avocado and chicken for lunch- and ate a few handful of this popcorn before making myself put the bag away. :)

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Food Prep & Meal Planning

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Welcome to a brand new week, my friends- the last week of January! I hope that your weekend was full of fun and that you got plenty of rest (which is what I look forward to the most on Saturday mornings!).

We were spoiled with warmth and sunshine all weekend and enjoyed temperatures in the 60s. To my east coast friends- I’m not trying to rub it in. It’s cold and snowy here today! I’m actually happy about the snow, because it means much better conditions for ski school on Wednesday! I got my own skis over the weekend and can’t wait to try them out on the slopes. The rentals that I’ve been using have definitely seen better days!

I spent a good amount of time doing something that I’m admittedly horrible at: meal planning and food prep! I blame it on my eight years as a teacher where I had to pack every single breakfast, lunch and snacks every single work day. I hated taking an hour each night to put together delicious meals and snacks- but the only other alternative was to eat from the school cafeteria and the vending machine in the faculty lounge. No thanks! I always took the time to pack food that I looked forward to eating because I was so miserable in that job- lunch was the only thing that I really looked forward to! Sad but true.

I’m trying to get better at planning out meals and prepping healthy snack and meal options to help me stay on track with my weight loss efforts and paying attention to macros. If I have ready-to-go healthy options around, I’m much less likely to snack on other things while I prepare a healthy snack/meal. Another thing that has made me lazy about meal planning is working from home most of the time. Since I eat most meals in my own kitchen, I feel like I don’t really have to plan ahead (which is so not true!).

I looked to the queens of food prep and meal planning for a little inspiration: Lindsay and Cassie. Lindsay has so many helpful posts about healthy meal preparation and I have found myself getting sucked in for hours reading her tips. She preps food for the week on Sundays and shares photos and details of what she made (and even has a round-up from other bloggers!). Cassie has great printables on her blog, including the menu and workout planner that I kept up with for about two weeks (before I got lazy…).

I spent a little bit of time in the kitchen on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, rather than doing one big long food prep on a single day. Here’s what I have so far:

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This photo includes: chopped red cabbage (I put it in salads, roast it or just snack on it raw), cauliflower, broccoli (all in bags that I will rinse out and re-use), hard-boiled eggs, Wholly Guacamole packets (I prefer plain, whole avocados, but these are great when I’m in a hurry!), roasted squash and red peppers (to put in salads for lunch), Balsamic Maple Roasted carrots (recipe to follow), Flapjacked pancakes, meat from a Whole Foods rotisserie chicken and this hummus (that is SO darn good).

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Video From STP Hike

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Hey friends- happy October 1st!!

I’m still on a high from my awesome hike this weekend with Sierra Trading Post- and I’m going to keep it short and sweet today. I’m learning that in Colorado fall doesn’t just mean colorful foliage and all things pumpkin. It also means snow (which I discovered a lot of this past Saturday!).

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The snow on the right may not look like it- but it was about a foot deep!

I wanted to share the awesome video that Sierra Trading Post’s camera man Chris put together from our 9-hour trek on Saturday (don’t worry- it’s not 9 hours long!). The video is about 2 1/2 minutes in length and I love it (especially Heidi’s comments). You’ll get to see some footage of two of my other favorite mountain girls Lynne and Heather as well. :)

All I have to say about this video is I LOVE IT!!

Please take a look- and enjoy!

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Sierra Trading Post Blogger Hike

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I’m sure you know that I love to hike. I typically 3-4 times a week (or more if I can help it) and consider myself very lucky that I live so close to so many different trails. My regular hiking trails are mostly around Boulder and take about 1 1/2 – 3 hours to complete. Most start a little below 6,000′ elevation and gain no more than about 2,300′ total. Once in a while Greg and I will venture out to tackle something a little more challenging (like the two 14ers we hiked this summer). This past Saturday was one of those challenging hiking days… to say the least.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Andy from Sierra Trading Post’s blog. He and STP’s videographer, Chris were interested in doing a hike with a couple of local bloggers and filming/blogging about the adventure. The local bloggers happened to be my good friends Heather, Lynne and Heidi! Without any hesitation, I said “yes!” Greg was also invited to come along, and I was glad that he’d be able to share the adventure as well. Our plan was to start at the top of Guanella Pass, which is the same location as the trailhead for Mt. Bierstadt (but in the other direction). We were going to summit three 13ers during the hike: Square Top Mountain (13,794’), Argentine Peak (13,738’) and Mount Wilcox (13,408’). The hike was estimated to cover a little over 10 miles and we planned on it taking about 6 hours round trip.

On Saturday morning, the group of us met up at the trail head (which is about 11,700′ elevation) around 8:30 am and set off for a day of fun. It was around 32˚ and pretty windy, but the sun was shining brightly. It had snowed a bit in the last week and parts of the ground were completely covered. Luckily we had all planned for it and wore waterproof boots! We were all smiles at the beginning of the hike. :)

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#HLS13BlogToJob [How Blogging Can Elevate Your Career]

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Hey there!

Yesterday I shared the details of my weekend and experience at the Healthy Living Summit in Minneapolis. One of the highlights of my weekend was speaking on a panel with my good friends Cassie and Gretchen on the topic how to use your blog to elevate your career.

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I was asked to speak on the panel a while back (in the late winter I think) and was flattered that they’d think of me! When I ended my teaching career just over a year ago, I really had no idea where I’d end up (and still really don’t!). I knew that I wanted to get my personal training certification but never really pictured myself training full-time. I know that teaching group exercise and helping others embrace a healthy lifestyle is a true passion of mine, but just wasn’t sure exactly which avenue I wanted to explore. What I didn’t know (until I started this little blog) was how much I love marketing and introducing others to things (whether it’s food, products or exercises) that I’m a big fan of.

You may remember that a little giveaway at Blend 2012 led to my job on the field marketing team with KIND. If I hadn’t ever started this blog (or began to utilize it for job opportunities) I have no idea what I’d be doing right now for work. Like I said- I’m not exactly sure where I’ll end up or what I’ll be doing, but I am pretty confident that my blog will be playing a part in that.

I wanted to share our presentation from Saturday (for those of you who weren’t able to attend HLS) via Cassie’s beautiful slides. Here they are (with a few notes underneath!):

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Healthy Living Summit

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Happy Monday, all! I’m back in (rainy, flooded) Colorado and hoping to see some major sunshine this week. My heart is going out to everyone in my community that has been affected by this horrible situation over the last week. Greg and I are super lucky that we did not have any flood damage. Our house happens to be up on a little higher ground, but even the areas right across the street from us are completely flooded. I’m really hoping that everyone recovers quickly and things return to normal very soon (because our normal is pretty wonderful).

On to some happier things- let’s talk about Healthy Living Summit!

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(Photo from Cassie)

This was my first time attending the conference and visiting the city of Minneapolis. I have to send one more gigantic thank you to Silk for not only being my sponsor but for being the best sponsors ever. Check out last Friday’s post for a huge Silk love fest. :)

I also want to send a huge thanks to Lee- who was nice enough to pick me up from the airport and show me around the city before the conference started.

We ate some great food and had a wonderful time walking around. Isn’t this girl just gorgeous?!

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Silk Sponsor Love

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Happy Friday, friends!

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I’m currently enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather in downtown Minneapolis where I’m staying all weekend for the Healthy Living Summit. I’ll be speaking on a panel with my friends Cassie and Gretchen on Saturday morning about how to use your blog to elevate your personal career. I’m looking forward to all of the fun events before and after that and excited to meet some new friends (and see some old ones!). I feel very flattered to have been asked to speak at the conference and hope that my story and advice can inspire some of my fellow bloggers to follow their own dreams when it comes to their career (and life!).

I’m also extremely blessed and thankful for the relationship that I have with Silk, who is sponsoring me to attend this event. They are a really amazing company and I have enjoyed working with them on various projects this past year. They are located in the same town I live in, the employees are the nicest people ever and I really respect everything the company stands for and supports. Is that enough gushing? It’s all true! To top it all off- they sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to my hotel with a note wishing me good luck for Saturday’s presentation!

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Minneapolis Bound!

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As you’re reading this, I’m probably en route to (or already in) Minneapolis, MN! I’m spending the weekend attending the Healthy Living Summit conference. This is my first year attending and I’m also honored to have been asked to speak on a panel with two of my most favorite ladies about how to use your blog to elevate your career. More on the two other gals in a minute. I’m also honored to represent Silk this weekend, as they were awesome enough to sponsor me to attend the conference.

I’m excited to meet new friends this weekend and to spend some time exploring Minneapolis- I’ve never been there before! (If you have any suggestions of things to see and do, please share!) I’m hanging out with Lee today (which lives in Minneapolis) and as I’ve mentioned before- she’s the lady who’s responsible for me discovering the land of healthy living blogs! I randomly found her blog about 2 1/2 years ago and quickly became sucked in. I decided to start my own about six months after that and had no idea how much of an amazing impact it would have on my life. So- THANKS LEE! :)

And if you’re not familiar with Lee, please go check her blog out. She’s a very talented photographer/artist and recipe creator too!

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Speaking of ladies that I adore…

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I Like To Hike

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Happy Monday! I know that a few of you probably rolled your eyes at the title of this post and are thinking “Yes, Lauren, we get it. You like to hike.” I apologize in advance if it’s little redudant, but I’m still thoroughly enjoying my love affair with the mountains. :)

I hope you enjoyed a nice, long holiday weekend (especially if you were lucky enough to have last Thursday and Friday off!). I’ve been running all over the place for the last four days and have spent a grand total of about five minutes at home, so I”m going to make this short and sweet today.

With this being the first July 4th that Greg and I have spent in Colorado, we really didn’t have an idea of what we wanted to do and see. We did know that the day would include some type of hiking and seeing fireworks at night. We braved the crowds and headed over to Chautauqua Park to hike between Flat Irons 1 & 2. It was HOT out (as you may be able to see by my lovely patch of sweat).

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There were a ton of other people hiking that morning, and two of my favorites joined us!

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